The Descendant of God (TCDMSG-2 1,2)
Nagoyashi-Kokaido, Aichi Japan – August 14, 1981
Disc 1: Apocalypse Now / Der Ritt der Walküren (R. Wagner); Armed and Ready; Cry for the Nations; Attack of the Mad Axeman; But I Want More; Victim of Illusion; Band Introduction; Into the Arena; On and On; Never Trust a Stranger; Let Sleeping Dogs Lie; and Tales of Mystery
Disc 2: 633 Squadron, Solo, and 1812 Overture (Cozy Powell); Courvoisier Concerto; Lost Horizons; Doctor Doctor; Are You Ready to Rock; Ending Announcements 1 and 2; SE/Last MC – fade out
Considering his great successes as guitar hero in UFO, Michael Schenker took the risky career move of leaving that band and forming his own group under just his name. It can be argued that UFO was never the same, and that Michael Schenker’s career move and increase in popularity was timed perfectly. MSG’s first studio album was, for this reviewer, a great success. Benefiting in the studio from the incredible efforts of Simon Phillips, Mo Foster, and Don Airey, Michael Schenker and Gary Barden had an obvious winning artistic chemistry between them. I don’t believe, however, that they played live with any of the studio musicians used on their first release.
Shortly after that release, however, MSG formed into a more cohesive group with personnel that both recorded in the studio and toured. Cozy Powell, Chris Glen, and Paul Raymond joined Schenker and Barden on their second, excellent album, and then toured in support of that release. We are blessed by Tarantura with a recording from that tour that is sourced, according to the predictably sweet packaging, from the “original master cassette from Mr. Peach”. The quality, clarity, and balance of the recording is excellent, at least, and at times superb. For this reviewer, rare, live recordings such as this are very welcomed indeed.
The show begins with a sound clip from Apocalypse Now, which is ended by the band crashing in to begin the concert to a totally mad audience roar. For those familiar with the commercially released “One Night At Budokan”, this show follows a similar format. A distinct difference between the commercial release and this Tarantura title, however, is that the full show appears to be contained on this title, and the band performs at a higher and tighter level of prowess. Gary Barden’s vocals are particularly excellent, demonstrating a range not shown on the commercial release, while Michael Schenker’s fantastic guitar playing is a bit more powerful, and creative, than the commercial release. Disc 1 contains a string of superb songs that are highlighted by standouts such as “But I Want More”, “Into the Arena”, and “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie”.
All musicians are clicking, and driving, each song in truly exciting and powerful ways that must’ve been incredible to experience live. The quality of the recording cannot be overstated as it is very clear, very powerful, and with little distortion at any time. It helps to bring home that live feeling. Disc 2, while containing the great song “Lost Horizons”, is not as engaging for this reviewer as Disc 1, particularly given Cozy Powell’s overdone solo spot that absorbs almost a third of the disc’s audio. With that said, the band introduction before “Into the Arena” resulted in a greater applause for Powell than Schenker, which tells you something about how popular that drummer was! Given his remarkable career of playing with superstars like Jeff Beck and Ritchie Blackmore, it is little wonder why.
This title, which was first released in June, 2008, but is currently sold out, is beautifully packaged in a heavy paper case that opens lengthwise to provide a great image of Michael on stage with a picture of the group performing live (maybe even this particular show) below it to give that overall feeling of what it was like when this concert was played. A bonus poster of Michael playing is also included with the title. All in all, this is a superb release of a superb, but short-lived group as this line-up of MSG would be replaced by a completely different ensemble for the next studio album and tour. Hopefully, Tarantura will re-issue this title for collectors as this is a highly recommended and excellent production.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)